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Analysis | The feature that may win Alonso a third world title

Analysis | The feature that may win Alonso a third world title

21-08-2023 18:30 Last update: 20:44

Ludo van Denderen

Wisdom comes with age, it is said. The same applies to Fernando Alonso. The now 42-year-old Spaniard is far from the man he used to be. He has now very much matured, both as a driver and as a human being. That probably gives him the best chance of still winning a third Formula 1 world title.

Max Verstappen has said it so many times: after that first world title, everything else that follows is a bonus. The Dutchman has now achieved his ultimate goal in motorsport. No one will take that away from him. That has undoubtedly given him a form of peace of mind. All the investments and sacrifices of his family and friends have 'paid off' in a way. The real need has disappeared.

Russell and Leclerc 'have to'

Other drivers on the grid are in a different situation, especially as the outside world sees them as 'potential world champions'. George Russell or Charles Leclerc, for example, have been said for years that they have the qualities to take the Formula 1 title. In reality, they have never been seriously close to the championship, including Leclerc in 2022. They 'have yet to'. These drivers, and there are a few more to name, no doubt realise that by now, one Max Verstappen is currently far above the rest. It makes conquering the championship even more complicated for them, and time is ticking away. All but certain that they will one day stand with the most important trophy in motorsport in their hands.

Watching Lewis Hamilton also raises the suspicion that he is (still) putting pressure on himself. The Briton wants the record eight world titles to his name so badly that he seems unable to enjoy the life he is allowed to lead. Being a Formula 1 driver is an absolute privilege, and being allowed to participate in this circus is - if you derive everything to the core - a game. (Self-imposed) pressure often has a paralysing effect. It can make you insecure, restless and, above all, keep you from performing at the top of your game.

Alonso as relaxed as Verstappen

You don't have to be a psychologist to see that Fernando Alonso is in a similar state to Verstappen. The Spaniard, too, no longer feels the urge to have to prove himself to others. Instead, Alonso is calm, makes jokes and looks extremely relaxed. Of course, his success with Aston Martin this season is a factor. But the fact that the last few races before the summer break were far from easy has not caused the Spaniard to suddenly become stressed.

During an interview for the High Performance podcast this week, Alonso talked about his current mindset. "I would love to win the championship once again, but it’s not the highest priority. I am enjoying the process, especially now with Aston Martin, to become a contender for the future. I’m loving the time with the team and how we are all growing up in many different areas," said the two-time world champion.

In other words, as with Max Verstappen: what comes, comes. If it doesn't come, no worries. Alonso remains calm under all scenarios. This seems the perfect mentality in a hectic world like Formula 1. Keeping calm, in both pros and cons, is the perfect basis for success and may well eventually result in a third championship for the Spaniard.